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USA Swimming Calls Hearing After Abuse Allegations Disclosed

The founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Curl-Burke Swim Club was accused in a civil lawsuit in 1989 of molesting a then-teenage swimmer, and its disclosure last week has caused USA Swimming to call for an emergency hearing, the Washington Post reported today.

The swimmer, Kelley Currin, signed a non-disclosure agreement with the coach, Rick Curl, back in December 1989. In exchange for $150,000, Currin (whose maiden name is Davis) was prohibited from ever discussing the alleged sexual abuse or the non-disclosure agreement publicly.

"I was stifled for 23 years from saying anything because I signed a piece of paper when I was 19," Currin told the Post in an interview last week. "Now, I've gotten to the point in my life where I'm done being quiet about it. ... It was a crime, what happened."

In the lawsuit, Currin alleged that the abuse began in 1983, when she was 13 years old and Curl was 33. The coach was accused by Currin of performing oral sex on her at least twice when she was only 14, according to the lawsuit.

During a swim meet in California in the summer of 1986, Currin said she again was abused by Curl while he maintained temporary custody over her well-being, the lawsuit reads.

USA Swimming received the non-disclosure agreement last Friday and requested an expedited National Board of Review hearing on Monday evening, USA Swimming spokeswoman Jamie Fabos Olsen told the Post.

Contacted by the Post about the allegations prior to the publication of the story, Curl refused to comment.

After the paper broke the story Wednesday morning, the Curl-Burke Swim Club posted a statement on their website saying that as a result of the allegations, Curl was immediately taking a leave of absence from the organization.

This isn't USA Swimming's first run-in with sexual abuse allegations against coaches, as MomsTeam and Bob Cook of Forbes both noted this week. Back in 2010, ABC's 20/20 ran a feature on alleged sexual abuse by youth swimming coaches against young female swimmers, revealing that 36 coaches had been removed from the organization due to sexual-abuse allegations.

In January 2011, USA Swimming launched a new background check program required by all of the organization's coaches and officials. Even coaches and officials who had completed a background check with USA Swimming previously were required to undergo another check by the end of last year, at the very latest.

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